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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jangaroo 0.3: Amplified ActionScript 3 Compatibility

It's been quite a while, but eventually, I am proud to announce Jangaroo 0.3, featuring highly improved ActionScript 3 compatibility and better build and deployment support:
  • interfaces, is
  • type casts (as and support for the legacy syntax)
  • bound methods (get this right!)
  • no more need to always use this.x instead of x
  • *-imports
  • fully AS3 compatible Array class
  • include directive
  • annotations (syntax only)
  • getter and setter methods (unfortunately not in IE)
  • automatic loading of dependent classes
  • Maven plugin provides Jangaroo with a flexible and powerful build system
Actually, many of these features were already introduced with the 0.2.x versions, but these were only released in the Jangaroo Maven repository. Now, the main effort was to round things off and update all documentation, so please go ahead and re-visit the Jangaroo Web site to find an updated story ("JavaScript 2 is dead, long live ActionScript 3!") and many new technical details.
Jangaroo Tool Support
Jangaroo has always used a subset of AS3, so that all AS3 tools like asdoc and IDEs can be used with Jangaroo code. As mentioned before, IntelliJ IDEA 8 supports ActionScript 3 and thus Jangaroo very well. To top that, we have implemented a Jangaroo IDEA plugin that will be released in the near future.
Porting AS3 Libraries to Jangaroo
Now that we have added all these nice AS3 language features, it is possible to translate most existing AS3 code with the Jangaroo compiler and run it in the browser (without any Flash plug-in!).
For example, we work on a port of FlexUnit and, with very few code changes, can already run its self-test-suite successfully in the browser. Our FlexUnit variant (of course called JooUnit!) will be released shortly, and some of the changes (missing semicolons, mixed DOS/UNIX line end encodings, asdoc glitches) will be submitted back to FlexUnit's main branch.
Of course, making the browser understand AS3 natively is only half the truth: Most AS3 code relies on standard libraries, namely Adobe's Flash API. Thus, another running project is to re-implement the Adobe Flash 9 API in Jangaroo as an adapter to native browser APIs (including canvas for drawing), so that most Flash code and even programs that draw and animate can be run, and as always when using Jangaroo: without a Flash plugin, thus seamlessly embedded into any HTML page!
Based on the Flash API, we recently also managed to compile the whole open source Flex 3.3 framework after some Jangaroo-friendly changes, but it is still quite some way to go until it would actually work, so we hope to get you ActionScript whiz people to contribute soon...
Have fun with a new way of experiencing JavaScript and ActionScript 3! We can't wait for your feedback!